Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: The Book of Speculation: A Novel

The Book of Speculation: A Novel The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was attracted to this book because of its cover and its title. A book which has books on the cover and in the title is very attractive to me! :) They say not to judge a book by its cover because you can be disappointed… well…I was not disappointed! I loved this story that unfolds over centuries. Two stories connected by fate and blood and a curse that needs to be broken in order to save a life. Erika Swyler’s writing style is beautiful and she succeeded to make you feel like you were there. The story is about strong family bound; deception and curse. Well worth reading!!

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to Go Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised how short this book was, this does not mean I was disappointed though. At first, I was not sure I liked the main character. He was a bit too rough around the edges, but he grew on me. I am glad I continued reading and get to the spectacular end of this book. This story is graphic and raw. It was well written and the pace was perfect. It is more a guy book that I am used to. It is a good strong story.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am still all chocked up after finishing reading this brilliant story about two sister’s courageous acts during the Second World War. Vianne and Isabelle cannot be more different and yet they both became war heroines in their own ways. Kristin Hannah wrote a remarkable historical story that is raw and touching. All the secondary characters in the book contributed to the story and made you feel that if they were not there, the story would not be complete. This is a beautiful read and I recommend it.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great start for this new series by Rae Carson. This story about a young girl who escapes her uncle and travel from Gorgia to California in hope to make her fortune is exciting and full of surprises. I am looking forward to the next book.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: More Than You Know

More Than You Know More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This heart warming story is a perfect read for a cold night by the fire... well the cold is here and I wish I had a fire to sit by. One out of two... not bad! This beautiful story is about three sisters who recently lost their loving mother. While packing her belongings; they come across a document left by her in which she tells them about a secret she kept from them. This book is beautifully written and all the characters are well defined. I enjoyed it!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska Looking for Alaska by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting book about a teenager boy who decides to attend the same boarding school his dad attended and how he makes new friends who will change his life. The book was nicely written enough, but the story was too young for my taste and maybe a bit to short too. I finished the book because that was the only thing I had to read on my business trip. It kept me company between flights. :)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Somewhere in France

Somewhere in France Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am really liking historical novels these days. I used to avoid them because I thought they would be depressing. Although some parts can be hard to read because of the "not so pretty" components of the war, there are always elements of hope, courage and self-sacrifice that overshadow the bad. Somewhere in France is a well written novel about the first World War. The story follows the daughter of an English Earl who steps out of her comfort zone to join the war efforts; and of a Scottish surgeon with whom she falls in love. They are both shipped somewhere in France and work side by side in a war hospital. Lili is bright, quick on her feet and good hearted. Robby is of common birth, but has a noble heart and performs his duties with utmost dedication. Although their relationship has all the ups and downs that are to be expected of a war romance novel; the author succeeded to keep the flow of the story interesting and time accurate.

Somewhere in France is a great read.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently read a book from Vanessa Diffenbaugh entitled "We Never Asked for Wings" and read in many of its reviews that her first book was a better read. I like Vanessa's writing style and thought that it would be worth reading her first book to see if it was true. It definitely was! What a wonderful story of human struggles, love and forgiveness. It was touching and thought provoking. I found myself so many time feeling the characters' emotions and wanting to help them. The Language of Flowers is beautifully written and inspired me to know more about the language of flowers. I think I will start leaving SPIDER FLOWER in the house... that might inspire my love to elope one day! :)


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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: See Me by Nicholas Sparks

See MeSee Me by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a good love story, as expected from any Nicholas Sparks books. I find it hard to believe that someone with Colin's past could change this much. I know that people can change, but the reality is that the bad in real people has a nasty habit to creep back to the surface eventually. But like in all Nicholas Sparks' stories, the main character's dark side has been conquered and the true hero shines bright in the end. This is a good light read and I am looking forward to see the movie.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: Grey by E.L. James

Grey (Fifty Shades, #4)Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am the dedicated reader who must read all the books in a series. I thought that maybe by rewriting the first book in the point of view of another persona that would have given the author an opportunity to write a better story than the first time. NOPE! That did not happen, it was the same, if not worse. I will break my rule and not read any other books in this series if more are to come.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Pretending to Dance: A Novel Pretending to Dance: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. It took me a while to really get into the story and I am glad I persevered and finished it. At the beginning of the book, I was not really enjoying the teenager struggles and I was not sure why the author was telling the story of Molly's teenage years. But by the middle of the book, I saw where the author was taking us and how important that part was to the story. In the end, it all came together beautifully and emotionally.

Pretending to Dance is a wonderful read.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Library of Souls

Library of Souls Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the third and final book (I hope!) in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. I really enjoyed the first two books and was looking forward to see how the series would end. The third book delivered a good ending, but I found myself often wanting to skip through pages to get to it. The story seemed to drag and some events had no bearings on the outcome. It was an enjoyable reading nonetheless and I recommend the entire series to teens and avid young readers.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: We Never Asked for Wings

We Never Asked for Wings We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was ok. Not bad... not awesome... just a good book. The story was nice and the characters were well defined. I was left with the feeling that the story was not complete. I smell a sequel!

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book came highly recommended by an online book review site. It was well written, but felt to be all over the place. The analogy between this resilient tree growing from nothing and the resiliency of a poor family living in Brooklyn was good, but could have been exploited much more. I just felt that the book did not have a smooth flow. The author briefly addressed some parts of the story which in my opinion would have been nice to expand on and sometime she spent too much time on an event which brought very little to the story. It was still a nice read overall.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Four Sisters:The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses

Four Sisters:The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses Four Sisters:The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses by Helen Rappaport
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two years ago I went to Russia and I wish I had read this book before. It would have put somethings in perspective while I was in St. Petersbourg and Peterhof. This book is well researched and provides great insights on the intimate lives of the members of the Romanov family and those who lived with them. I found it sometimes too detailed, but I enjoyed its historical content and I am glad I read it.


Romanov Family

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review: Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Circling the Sun is the story of Beryl Markham, a British-born Kenyan aviator, adventurer, racehorse trainer and author.

The book covers her childhood to her adulthood. Beryl was no ordinary woman. She was a complicated and libertine woman whose life was plague by numerous scandals. She, however, lived her life to the fullest and had more adventures than any woman from her time could have hoped for. Paula McLain also beautifully described Kenya and other parts of Africa. I hope to see them with my own eyes one day.

Beryl Markham

This is a wonderful historical book. A story that praises the accomplishments of an extraordinary woman in a time when there were no opportunities for the "weaker sex". Great read!

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Four new cards

I was all by my lonesome today. My love was away all day. His oldest daughter is starting university this week and he drove her there today. I got lots done: the laundry, cleaning and I got to make four cards. I was busy but that did not stop me from missing him.




Thursday, September 3, 2015

Card for my daughter's boyfriend

My daughter has a wonderful man in her life. I am so happy that they found each other. Peter's birthday is coming up on Saturday and we are going golfing. I thought it would be appropriate to create a golf theme birthday card.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The World's Strongest Librarian is a story of determination and faith in oneself. I knew a bit about Tourette syndrome and met several people with various levels of the condition, but never realize the emotional impact on the person. Josh Hanagarme put in words the range of emotions experienced by people afflicted by this condition and this was an eye opener. I have a hard time imagining not having control of my body and not knowing when it will involuntary move or vocalize. I have now great respect and admiration for Tourette patients’ courage and perseverance.

This book is not meant to be a cure guide for the condition; it is a story that will encourage anyone with severe health conditions to never give up in their quest to a healthy life. The book is written in good humour and is a quick read.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

In the mood to make some cards

I stayed home today because I am not feeling well. I got bored real fast and decided to attempt to make a few birthday cards as my stack is totally depleted. Here's the result:






Thanks for stopping by and have a look.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: Cinema Lumiere by Hattie Holden Edmonds

Cinema LumiereCinema Lumiere by Hattie Holden Edmonds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book for free on Amazon a few months ago. The story intrigued me and I am grateful that my curiosity convinced me to get it because it was a lovely read. The tempo was a bit slow but the story was well structure and developed. I enjoyed the end in particular as I did not expect that at all. I love endings like that one.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are books that touch your mind and other that touch your soul. The Thirteenth Tale is one of those. It is a masterpiece of words and imagery. I just could not put it down. This is an unpredictable story of deep loss and redemption. I am sad that I am done reading it, but happy that I have been enriched by the colorfulness and cleverness of Diane Setterfield's beautiful writing.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Unbroken: A World War II Book of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Book of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Unbroken: A World War II Book of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this book! Gimme a second to compose myself! As I reflect now on the words I just read; a desire to do more and give more to others while I am on Earth is brewing within me. You never know where life will take you.

I know little about the war between Japan and the rest of the world. I am very familiar with the suffering Germany brought to the world during the same period, but I had no idea that Japan brought the same in that part of the world. This book taught me a lot about the Japanese culture and how honor is so important to them. It also taught me that what one person considers honorable is not necessary of equal value for another. But I am derailing... this book is not about the horrific acts the Japanese army performed.. it is about the triumphant life of a man who was able to beat all odds.

Louis Zamperini is an extraordinary man. His life is an example of courage, resilience and service to humanity. Laura Hillenbrand succeeded to put in words the full spectrum of human emotions and physical limits POWs had to go through. She also infused the book with the beauty of the human soul and how in the midst of great pain, a man can still find in himself to help others.

There is still time this summer to fit another great book on your list. If you have not read this one, please do.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: A Paris Affair

A Paris Affair A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ugh! That was one of the most ugh! books I have ever read! I am still not sure why I picked it up and finished to read it. Even in the end I was still waiting to see where it was going! Not my thing! Not bad! Not good! Not memorable.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a real gem!!! A friend suggested I read this book after she read my review of The Little Paris Bookshop. She actually suggested by I listen to it. I got the audiobook and listened in wonder. This story is revealed through the correspondence between all the characters. I enjoyed to get to know all of them and their wonderful personalities and quirks. This is a wonderful story about a book club which was started by brave folks out of deceit in order not to be caught and trial by the German soldiers during their occupation of Guernsey during the second world war. This started all because of a pig roast! You have to read or listen to this book... listen is better if you can get your hands on an audio copy. Wonderful book!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder

3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder 3 Sleuths, 2 Dogs, 1 Murder by Maggie Pill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in a series called "The Sleuth Sisters Mysteries". This is a fun series about three sisters of mature age which joint hands to defend the innocents and fight crime. This book is full of adventure, great plots and intelligent solutioning. I love how the sisters interact... they complete one and another. This is a light reading; perfect for the beach or a road trip. I recommend you read the first book before starting this one so you can get to know the characters.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: It Isn't Cheating if He's Dead by Julie Frayn

It Isn't Cheating if He's DeadIt Isn't Cheating if He's Dead by Julie Frayn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was written by a Canadian author and deals with mental diseases and how they affect people. I love to support our Canadian authors and I am grateful for their great talents. I enjoyed this emotional story, the complex characters and the happy ever after ending.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: The Heart of Betrayal

The Heart of Betrayal The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in a the series entitled "The Remnant Chronicles". Mary E. Pearson did not disappoint. This second book is as good as the first one and the story continues to grow into this awesome epic. The primary characters have evolved and matured; and the new ones are each bringing new dimensions to the story. Not everything is what it seems. What one believed so strongly in the past can be changed with the opening of the eyes of the soul. Betrayal runs deep bringing new obstacles to conquer. New alliances are formed and are their only hope.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am in love!! In love with this book! This is by far one of the most beautifully and emotionally written book I have read so far. The quotes... wow!! The quotes that Nina George infused into this wonderful work of literature will be forever quoted. Quotes about books, women, men, life!

Here's one I like:

“Books are more than doctors, of course. Some novels are loving, lifelong companions;some give you a clip around the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you've got those autumn blues. And some...well, some are pink candy floss that tingles in your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful voice. Like a short, torrid love affair.”

This is a must read this summer. I found a bit of myself in each of the characters and their stories awakened my dormant heart. I laughed, I cried and I truly enjoyed myself.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: He Comes Next by Ian Kerner

He Comes NextHe Comes Next by Ian Kerner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall the book was interesting, but nothing really new was uncovered. I think this would be a great book for young inexperienced ladies!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: At the Water's Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge: A NovelAt the Water's Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! Having been myself in Scotland and dipped my toes in the Loch Ness, I could just see the scenery so vividly in my mind. "At the Water's Edge" is beautifully written and the plot is passionate and surprising. I particularly like the secondary personas who infused the story with character and devotion. I strongly recommend this book.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Branded by Keary Taylor

Branded (Fall of Angels, #1)Branded by Keary Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book dealing with angels I read in a row. This one is the first book of a series called "Fall of Angels" and it was a much better story! I enjoyed the more mature plot, and although the characters are a bit too perfect; the story was well put together. I am looking forward to read the other books in this series.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: Crossroads by Mary Ting

Crossroads (Crossroads Saga, #1)Crossroads by Mary Ting
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If there was a Twilight book template; this author followed it perfectly. The story is different than the Twilight books, but the feel is the same. It is a great teenager book with good values. The characters are interesting and lovable. This is the first book of the Crossroad Saga Series. It did not hook me enough to read the next books, but if I was 16; I would think differently.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: This Time Next Door by Gretchen Galway

This Time Next Door (Oakland Hills, #2)This Time Next Door by Gretchen Galway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Oakland Hills Series. This time the story is about Rose and Mark. I enjoyed this light read which was funny, widdy and at time sexy. Although there are several characters which paths are crossing; it is not difficult to keep up with all of them and enjoy their contribution to the story.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This was a ride... a wild train ride!! This book kept me guessing to the end. Paula Hawkins created an intricate story between complex people. The story written in three voices helps the reader get all the angles of the plot and add dimension to the book. A must read!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the next book we will be discussing in July at my workplace book club. I thought to start the book early as I did not think the subject would interest me much. Was I ever wrong?!?! I could not put it down. This is a story of defiance in times of wars and conflicts, and a story of courage coming from the most unexpected person. All schools in the world should add "I am Malala" to their curriculum and mandate all their pupils to read it.

In Canada, we, women, take education for granted. We never have to look over our shoulders to see if someone will jump out of the shadows to hurt us because we are going to school and are getting an education. Malala had to do this every day of her young life because she believed that it was her right to be educated... and she got shot for it.

I appreciated hearing the events of those turbulous times from the perspective of a child who lived right in the centre of it all. I commend her for speaking out and defying the Taliban's ruling. She was meak in stature, but mighty in words and actions. A true example of unselfishness and determination.

I am Malala is a marvelous book and should be read by all. I hope that her testimony will inspire us all to make changes and to fight for the right of all children to live in peace and to receive an education. I am inspired!

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review: The Fifth Gospel: A Novel by Ian Caldwell

The Fifth Gospel: A NovelThe Fifth Gospel: A Novel by Ian Caldwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a while to finish this book. The tempo of the story was slow but the author kept me hooked enough to keep me reading to discover more. The plot was well composed and delivered. The characters were well developed and each were interesting in their own way. In a few book reviews, The Fifth Gospel was compared to Dan Brown's series featuring Robert Langdon as the main character. I did not find the books to be similar with the exception that, just like Dan Brown, it is obvious that Ian Caldwell did his research on the Catholic church and rituals before writing this story. If you decide to read this book, don't give up because the story might be a bit slow; it all comes together in the end and you will say: "Awww! This all makes sense now!"

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Love Handles by Gretchen Galway

Love Handles (A Romantic Comedy)Love Handles by Gretchen Galway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute and fun story. I am always leery of stories advertising that the main character is a bigger girl... she is a size 10 for goodness sake... that's not big in my book; that's normal!! For certain things, size matters... but when it comes to people, it does not. You are who you are. If you love yourself; you are healthy and you are not bothered by your size, then no one should be either. Any-who... like I said at the beginning of this post... the story was cute and funny. This is a great summer read.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Andromeda by Amy Bartelloni

AndromedaAndromeda by Amy Bartelloni
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Andromeda is the first book of a series by the same name. The story had great potential, but the author failed short to give it flow and excitement. I will not read the next books. :(

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